Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hawaiian Shirt

(This is the project I was excited about in my last post...)

So, when we were in Hawaii, of course I had to indulge in my fabric addiction and visit a fabric store. Iestyn went along, and while we were there, he actually picked out some fabric for himself(!) He asked me to make him a Hawaiian shirt out of this very busy fabric:
Naturally I said yes, although I hadn't ever actually made that sort of shirt before. I found Simplicity 5581, which had pretty good reviews on and gave it a whirl. I've actually had it cut out for quite a while - I just hadn't gotten to the sewing together part. (I tend to go on periodic cutting sprees, and it takes a while to get it all sewn together.) I'm really happy with how it turned out:
and so is he. :) However, I have to say that I don't think I could have followed these directions if I hadn't already sewn collars and sleeves. The collar instructions were just confusing. (Although to be honest, most of the collar instructions I've ever seen have been fairly confusing. But the ones in my Vogue jacket are clearer than these.) And then they actually had you do the sleeves flat, rather than as a regular set in sleeve. While I think this is probably simpler than the other method, they didn't actually give any instructions on how to ease the fabric together. If I hadn't done it before, I think my sleeves would have been a puckery mess! I do think the pattern pieces were pretty good, and it's a nice fit, so I'd use the pattern again myself, but I definitely wouldn't recommend it to a garment sewing newbie!

Oh, and I also finally put together a tank top for myself that I cut out ages ago. I found this beautiful knit well over a year ago at Gail K Fabrics, but I'd never been able to figure out how to use it. It's lovely, but it's also completely see through, and I never could find any equally soft lining fabric. I finally gave up and got some not especially soft/nice knit lining so that I could at least use it! I modified a New Look tank pattern (a lot. Clearly not the tank top pattern for me.)
I'm not completely in love with how it turned out - I think I messed up the straps a bit because I was having to pin it on myself - but it's certainly wearable. And I finally used my lovely knit!

I've also just about finished a couple of fast outfits for the girls. I found some super cute pre-smocked Tinkerbell fabric at Joann's, so I made them tunic tops from that and some of my favorite Burda bike shorts to match. (I love that pattern. SO EASY. I don't follow their instructions for assembly, but I swear they only take like 10-15 minutes to put together. And as a bonus, they're A's favorite style of shorts.)

I think this means that I'm about ready for a new cutting spree - I only have one project currently cut out! It's a dress for me, which means lots of fiddling with the bodice, so I'm kind of procrastinating on it at the moment. As always I have lots of patterns I want to try, though, so I just have to decide which ones I want to try next!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Little boxy bag

I remembered to take a picture of the last little boxy bag:

Cute, no? I really do think they're adorable, but definitely a pain to make. Next time I want to make a number of gifts, I need to make a sample *before* I cut all of them out....

I've also just about finished another project that I'm quite pleased about. Pictures coming soon....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

No more teachers, no more books...

We're in the end of the year busy-ness at the moment, so what sewing time I've had lately has mostly been teacher gifts. I decided I'd make lined boxy pouches for the 4 main teachers (M has 3, and A has 1.) Unfortunately, I gave M's teachers their gifts this morning without even thinking to take any pictures, and I haven't actually finished A's yet. Possibly there will be a picture of that one! They're very cute, but I have to say, they're a real pain in the butt. I love the way they look, but I'm not at all certain I'll be making more once I've finished these. I think they'd be easier if they weren't lined, but I hate exposed seams. (Although I do think I might make a couple of unlined ones for the girls - we've just started giving them allowances, and they don't really have anywhere good to put their money at the moment.)

I do have a picture of the bookmarks that I made for the preschool art/music teachers:
Super cute and easy-peasy - I'll definitely be making more of these. Plus they're a great way to use up scraps. A bookmark and a Barnes and Noble gift card, and I've got a great teacher gift!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring Purse

Actually, I suppose I can't really say spring - in Atlanta we're headed right towards summer! But at any rate, I was ready for a new bag - much as I like my old purse, Andalucia Mod Dots in Fire are NOT summery. Plus, possibly even more important, my Kindle doesn't fit inside my old bag. Summer means a lot of time spent hanging out at playgrounds and the pool while the kids play, and I need entertainment if no one's around to talk to! I made my sister a wristlet for Mother's Day from some of my Par Avion in Ocean and remembered just how much I like that fabric, so I decided it was the way to go for my purse.

Random aside: I often buy my fabric from a co-op, so I pick up things that are pretty, and then they sit in my stash until I think of a good use for them. So sometimes they sit for quite a while. Or, you know, sink to the bottom of the stash. It's kind of a fun bonus when I rediscover something beautiful. I think that might mean I have WAY more fabric than I need (or, um, could use up!), but hey. Fabric makes me happy!

Anyway, I knew I wanted a messenger/cross body style to tote around my stuff. I have a standard pattern for those that I made up years ago, so I altered that to the size I wanted and sewed it up. Only to find that the strap was all wrong, and I couldn't actually quite close the magnetic clasp with the kindle inside. Eek!

So, I ended up having to take the entire thing apart. Grr! The strap was easy enough - it needed to be a bit narrower and a bit longer. I decided the only way to fix the snap thing was to make a new flap, and then (since it was all apart anyway) I added a couple more pockets to the inside. (I'd put in one small slip pocket for my phone, but I realized the bag was big enough that I needed something for my keys as well. Then while I was at it, I added a pocket for my sunglasses and chapstick.) OH, and then I ran out of the thread I was using! But I found a piece of ribbon that I rather liked on the flap, and I had thread that matched that, so I ended up redoing the topstitching on the strap with a new thread color. The whole process was a major pain in the neck - I actually took apart probably 3/4 of the seams, along with all the new topstitching - but I'm quite pleased with the end result:

It fits what it needs to fit, the pockets are perfect for organizing my stuff, it's comfortable to wear, and best of all, the fabric makes me happy. :) I do think the ribbon could use a bit more decoration - a flower or pretty button - but I'm working on that.

I also recently made myself a new hat. I like to carry a bucket hat around in my purse in case I need it, and I'm a little bored of my old one. Also, I love hats, so it's nice to have a variety. (Please ignore my expression - I hate timer pictures!)

I love it! Except that I used twill for the lining rather than quilter's cotton, and it doesn't actually fit very well in my purse. :( I think I'm going to pass it along to someone and make myself another with a lining that *will* fit in my purse. Because I really adore the fabric. I actually have quite a bunch of it. I'm thinking that I might make myself a skirt with it as well, but I haven't quite decided yet. It can go into the never ending project pile!

Edited to add: Here's the flower decoration I came up with:
I used the same ribbon, a button from Hawaii, and a random button. It's just the touch the bag needed!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Musings

Generally, Iestyn and the girls make something for me for Mother's Day. One year they made a beautiful giant heart that's on the wall in my dining room. This year, A had a whole plan, apparently, and it turned out very cool. It's got something of a StoryPeople vibe, which is perfect for me. (Now what exactly it's supposed to be is a question I can't really answer, but it's cool.) I think I might hang necklaces from it, although it may just be artwork.
There's also a poem on the back, which is sadly pretty much illegible because A wouldn't wait for the sharpie. She knows it by heart, though, so I think I might print it out and attach it to the back. It goes like this:
Roy G Biv
Roy G Biv is an odd name for a fellow
But what its name means is red, orange, yellow
The G stands for green, which as you may know
Comes in the middle of every rainbow.
Next: blue and indigo, more pale than dark
Then V is for violet, and that completes the arc.

I just love how incredibly creative my kids are (even if it means that I can never find printer paper... I finally started buying them their own packages so I'd be able to print!) They're constantly drawing and writing things. A made herself a paper TV at school recently, and then she made paper DS's for herself and her sister. Which they "play" - "Move up. Now right. Now punch!" You can tell we restrict their electronics access, lol. I felt bad that they didn't have a DS for about three seconds, and then I realized that I much preferred their ability to entertain themselves with a piece of paper!

Then there's this card that M made me, which totally cracks me up. One side is decorated with hearts and flowers, and this is the other side:
"Yes M
Dear Mommy
Your the best mom! I'm sorry I didn't come when you called. I could not tell you the thing"

What thing couldn't she tell me? I have absolutely no idea, lol. She tends to say that what they did at school is a secret, so maybe that's it, but really, I'm not sure.

Anyway, it was a lovely Mother's Day - I had a soccer game, then after I had brunch with Iestyn and the girls, I went over to my mom's for some fun crafty time. And in the evening we had a lovely picnic with my family, my mom, and my sister and her family. I finally got pictures of the owl dresses - sort of. M was in nutjob mode, so she was running away from the camera. Notice A dutifully smiling, and M running:
Then A tried to restrain her sister for me:
I love these girls so much!

Thursday, May 6, 2010



We're going to Disney World this summer, and I've been busily planning some cute outfits for the girls. I got a wee bit carried away and bought some Mickey Mouse fabric from Hobby Lobby, and it turns out that I really didn't need it. So I decided to make the girls some Mickey jammies:
I tried to get a better picture, but honestly they were total nutjobs by this point in the evening, so I gave up after a while. I should have made the shirts a little longer, but oh well. (I just extended the pattern from the top of a dress, and I didn't add quite enough length.) The girls like them, anyway, and I used up some of my fabric!

Actually, I've been busily sewing this past week. Soccer's FINALLY over for the girls, thankfully, so I'm a little less tired. I also made them each a round neck dress using Robert Kaufman On a Whim owls in aqua. The girls claim that the dresses are "beautiful", but I don't think M has even tried hers on yet. Harumph. :) I also made some shorts to match - Burda 9615, which is a great pattern. The shorts are very reminiscent of the Hanna Andersson bike shorts, and I used a super soft knit from Gail K's. I'll definitely be making more of these. Plus they were extremely easy to make, which is a definite bonus!

It's getting harder and harder to tell apart the girls' matching clothes, so I'm working on a new system so that I can figure it out. In the new jammies, I used scraps of knit to make tags - A's are blue, and M's are yellow to go with their favorite colors. For the bike shorts I used different buttons, which is probably the system I'll continue with. Plus it helps them identify the front of the shorts. I have to get some more shaped buttons, though - apparently they have to have the same shape. (If I could roll my eyes in print, I'd do it now!)

I also tried to make myself a tank top from a New Look pattern, which was a gigantic fail. The straps got really stretched out when I was trying to sew them together, so that part was my fault, but also the pattern itself apparently didn't fit right. Oh well. I guess I'll be doing some alterations if I try that again!